James Taranto thinks you’re stupid, too

The Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web columnist James Taranto is smarter than this, I thought. From today’s column: “The 14th Amendment clearly does not authorize the executive branch to incur more debt without congressional approval.” The debt ceiling debate is NOT about incurring more debt. It is about paying the debt Congress has already incurred. Taranto knows that. Republican officeholders know that — even if they sometimes pretend they don’t. They just think you’re stupid and don’t know any better.

Speaking of the 14th Amendment gambit he described in the quote above and of another out-there idea — to have the Treasury Secretary take advantage of a poorly written law to mint two $1 trillion coins, deposit them in the Treasury and put that money on the books, thus enabling the United States to continue paying its debts — Taranto also says this: “Democrats, for their part, are again suggesting two ways of working around the debt limit.”

That’s just wrong. Democrats don’t want to work around the debt limit. They want to increase it, as a Republican Congress did without drama 19 times during the Bush administration. It is the Republican refusal to increase the debt limit without onerous preconditions (which they don’t have the votes to win through the normal political process) that’s forcing Democrats and other sane people to think way outside the box. This isn’t, as a friend of mine liked to say, rocket surgery. If Republicans refuse to vote to increase the debt limit unless they get their way on spending cuts and President Obama sticks firm to his vow not to negotiate with terrorists again on the debt ceiling limit, the effects on the global and national economies will be catastrophic.

If minting trillion dollar coins can avoid those consequences, then mint the damn coins.

Even better, slap some sense into those Republicans who believe hostage-taking is a legitimate form of political negotiation. Or arrest them for economic treason and terrorism, which is exactly what they would be committing if, in the end, they actually pull the trigger and refuse to vote for a clean limit on the debt ceiling.

7 Responses to James Taranto thinks you’re stupid, too

  1. vince says:

    Wow. You think striking a trillion dollar coin will somehow actually DO something and yet you want to hold Taranto’s feet to the fire on the 14th amendment ? Following that tripe with “hostage-taking” and “economic terrorism”? You cheapen the language and lower further the standards of discourse.

  2. mark says:

    Dude you are exactly wrong. The debt limit extension is about borrowing more money beyond the current limit, the money is not yet spent. Maybe it is budgeted to be spent, but it has not been spent yet.

    That is why when the extension is not done the government shuts down for a few weeks until it is all settled.

  3. Dan Radmacher says:


    Yes, it is money already budgeted – spending agreed to by Congress and the president (mostly by past Congresses and past presidents, actually). Obligations undertaken and agreed to by the United States of America.

    If Congress wants to stop that spending, it can pass laws to rescind it. What it cannot do, with any moral authority, is refuse to pay the bills once it’s spent.

  4. Robert. McDevitt says:

    Inflammatory rhetoric is not a substitute for a normal political process. Each group, both R’s and D’s have goals in the discussion and resolution of the debt increase process. This is the normal horse trading of politics. Attempts to delegitimize your opponents by calling the “terrorists” are counter productive. So much for civil discourse. Posts such as yours do not advance any efforts to reach accord; they merely serve to deepen the divide.

  5. Dan Radmacher says:

    “Each group, both R’s and D’s have goals in the discussion and resolution of the debt increase process.”

    That’s where your wrong. Each side wants the debt ceiling increased (except for the truly irresponsible and uneducated who don’t understand how bad it will be for the nation if it isn’t increased). But one side wants to exact a price for allowing that happen, a price it couldn’t win through the normal democratic process. And if it doesn’t get its way, it says it will allow the nation to default. That’s hostage-taking, and it is economic terrorism. It isn’t analogous to hostage-taking and economic treason; it IS hostage-taking and economic treason.

    The only way to reach an “accord” is for the GOP to give up the hostage.

  6. Stan Butler says:

    Dan thinks budgeted means already spent and he thinks you’re stupid for knowing better. Dan probably doesn’t recall SENATOR Obama voting against a debt ceiling hike, or he hopes YOU don’t,

  7. Dan Radmacher says:

    We’re not talking about money that’s just been budgeted, but also appropriated, and when Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling, it was a symbolic vote. He knew there was no chance the debt ceiling wouldn’t actually be raised.

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